i feel like a teenager :\
September 9, 2008 6:37 PM   Subscribe

If I know I wont be happy with him in the long term, why is it so hard to break up with him now?

28 year old female, been with my boyfriend for just over two years. he's cute, smart, creative and funny. i love the good times with him - cuddling and watching movies and being silly. i guess you could say on a small scale, he's great. on a larger scale, we totally dont match up in several areas i understand to be "key" to a lasting relationship, mostly surrounding the ideas of stability, support and growth.

having a certain (not insane) level of stability is really, really important to me. i had a strange childhood and have problems now with anxiety. he's comfortable wherever and doesnt understand why i "worry" all the time. money is not important to him at all - he's a musician and an artist and works menial jobs. support is important to me in that i want a relationship with someone who feels like my (sexy) tag-team partner. i will always have their back and i want to feel like they've got mine too. there have been at least 3 cases in our relationship where ive felt like i got no support from him when i desperately needed it. when i was upset that i wasnt getting the support, he didnt understand at all. in terms of growth, love love LOVE my super awesome job and work very hard at it. im very involved socially and professionally and see it going somewhere. i want to maybe start putting money away for important things soon and get a better place to live. i dont have his support in this, financially or emotionally. we never talk about my job, except that he thinks that i work too much. its just not important to him and he doesnt understand having a job that you love.

on all these cases, i dont want to force him to do anything, much less fake caring about something. im not his mom, and im not a demanding bitchy girlfriend. i feel like supporting me and understanding what i need should come from the heart, not me directing him how, when and why to do something.

so, it comes to us talking about breaking up. he is unhappy because im too dedicated to my job (that's not going to change), we dont have sex enough (i think we do...) and he just feels me being distant. i have gotten distant. i've told him that i just dont think we have a future together. it all makes sense that we should break up, because as i feel in my head but cant express to him, every day that i'm with him means im not meeting the guy who will fulfill all these desires.

so why is this so hard? its breaking my heart to think of not being with him cuddling at night or just hanging out. i feel like i cant get any hold on my emotions or express myself logically to him, and its not only making this harder for me, its making it way harder for him.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

Because right now you're getting more or less exactly what you want out of the relationship.

Sounds like he's the one who should be breaking up with you, if anyone. But I'm generally a supporter of the idea of "If you're happy right now, keep going with it." After all, all relationships end eventually, why kill it off because you "know" that it won't last. You were unhappy about a few things in the past, you fear being unhappy at some nebulous point in the future. But right now, you're reasonably happy.

Good. Keep it up. Take the energy you're putting into trying to end your relationship into trying to keep it.
posted by Ookseer at 6:55 PM on September 9, 2008 [7 favorites]

I'm in a somewhat similar situation, although it's not as serious (and hopefully we'll keep it from getting that bad). In my previous relationship, our compatibility was dwindling away at a very alarming rate - but we were both so blind to these issues, that it didn't end until we just painfully snapped like a rubber band. So I'm glad that it hasn't gotten that bad for you either.

With the inability to express yourself that you are feeling, take a step back first and try to write it out to yourself before talking to your guy. Keep it completely private, with no "I'm going to show this to my boyfriend once I'm done" mentality creeping in. If you decide to later, that's fine. But this first "draft" is entirely for you. Let the words flow, make the arguments you so badly want him to be aware of, and get the frustration out of your system. Even if he ends up responding after it all with "Well I just don't feel the way you do," at least you'll know that you're able to fully understand your own position. Make sure that if you are going to break up, you do it calmly and with both parties being completely aware of the incompatibilities that caused it. You can love a person very much, but if they ultimately want different things in life, dedicating years to each other is making too many sacrifices to live without regrets.

If you don't see this relationship continuing, and I'd say you have very fair reasons and needs that aren't being understood, there's no point to dragging this on. It will hurt, because lonely nights are not a concept most people are fond of. But there will be so many positive things for you to look forward to when the wounds heal, too. Finding someone who will share your happiness and pride for the work you do, being comforted with a sense of security for your financial future, having more time to pursue the activities you absolutely love.

Take a deep breath, and move your life forward.

Best of luck!
posted by Bakuun at 6:56 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

every day that i'm with him means im not meeting the guy who will fulfill all these desires.

Flawed reasoning. Look, you may have plenty of other reasons for wanting to break up with him, but this is rationalizing something that can't be rationalized - and doing it poorly.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:02 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Well it's classical job versus relationship. Intellectually you're convinced you value your job over your relationship, although biologically/emotionally you value your relationship over your job. I would recommend more playing it by ear. The actual non-projected data you have is that you enjoy the relationship a good deal but your boyfriend refuses to share your enthusiasm for your work which hurts/distances you. You also feel it important to upgrade your rung on the standard of living ladder and your boyfriend cannot assist financially. It is rough, but of the other men you know, do you think any of them are going to both be capable of fun nights watching movies AND truly giving a shit about your financial/professional ostentations? I don't mean that to be rude, serious question. If you actually like the guy which it seems like you do, I would definitely sit on it. I mean basically you're asking us why you're having hesitations about ending a relationship you like being in, despite your best intellectual future-projections to the contrary. Don't put all your eggs in your future-predicting ability and let it play out is my opinion.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 7:12 PM on September 9, 2008

Well, look at it this way. This relationship is not fair to either of you. If you stay because it is comfortable, you will wind up resenting your partner, not to mention at some point, if you want children, you have to know that your childbearing years do have an expiration date. You have time to spare, but not time to waste, if you know what I mean.

The thing that sticks out here to me is that you feel like he didn't support you when you needed it. That right there is the dealbreaker, period.
posted by konolia at 7:13 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

its breaking my heart to think of not being with him cuddling at night or just hanging out.

You've grown accustom to him, and the security that comes from sharing so many things with another person.

Oxytocin. It's remarkable stuff. Maybe Pynchon was right...

"I'll tell you what I know, then," he decided. "The pin I'm wearing means I'm a member of the IA. That's Inamorati Anonymous. An inamorato is somebody in love. That's the worst addiction of all."
"Somebody is about to fall in love," Oedipa said, "you go sit with them, or something?"
"Right. The whole idea is to get where you don't need it. I was lucky. I kicked it young. But there are sixty-year-old men, believe it or not, and women even older, who might wake up in the night screaming."
"You hold meetings, then, like the AA?"
"No, of course not. You get a phone number, an answering service you can call. Nobody knows anybody else's name; just the number in case it gets so bad you can't handle it alone. We're isolates, Arnold. Meetings would destroy the whole point of it."

posted by phrontist at 7:26 PM on September 9, 2008 [7 favorites]

I was experiencing disturbingly similar feelings a short six months ago and all I can tell you is this: Now that I have half a year's perspective, I miss the situation (eating dinner with someone, etc.) but I don't miss HIM. And that is how I know I did the right thing.
posted by als129 at 7:39 PM on September 9, 2008 [13 favorites]

I don't think it's a case of job vs. love, it's just that you found a job that you love and he doesn't feel happy for you. It hurts to have a passion and have your S.O. knock it down. The trouble is, right now it's only your passion, and all he sees that he's getting out of it is less time with you.

I would give it some time. You are not done yet, or it wouldn't hurt so much to think of leaving. Talk to him about how you feel, not about what he isn't doing. Maybe once the moola starts rolling in he might change his mind. It's really not necessary to have absolute agreement on all things in a relationship. Having someone that you love to cuddle with and have fun with is far, far more rare and precious than you might imagine.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:40 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

To answer your question quite directly - without going into an analysis of what everyone is trying to look at - let's look at your question again:

"If I know I wont be happy with him in the long term, why is it so hard to break up with him now?"

Because you're acting like a teenager. And you're being selfish.

End it.
posted by matty at 8:06 PM on September 9, 2008

Yeah, I'm totally breaking up with girls left right and centre because they're diverting time and energy away from me accidentally bumping into a chick who looks and fucks like Riley Mason but has the smarts of Naomi Klein and the income of Oprah and who, most importantly, overlooks my flaws, is absolutely explosively enthusiastic about everything I ever do, and totally wants to be with me.

Whatever happened to "love is all you need", man? And don't forget that other staple of healthy, lasting relationships: "communication, communication, communication". You should be talking to him, not us.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:13 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Let me summarize: your boyfriend is fun to be with day-to-day, but as far as you can tell he simply isn't interested in the things that are important to you, and more importantly, doesn't even try to take an interest in them even though he knows they're important to you. Is this accurate? If so, the first thing you need to do is make a list of the evidence you have that he loves you, both in little ways and big ways. Not loves being with you, or feels "in love with" you, but actually the long term definition of love: putting your interests before his. If you can't come up with much of consequence, then as far as you can tell he simply doesn't love you. Okay, so you need to talk to him, honestly, and try to understand his view. If you do this and still feel you don't have any reason to believe he really loves you, then you owe it to yourself to break up with him. If you decide he really does love you, though, then you still have something that can be fixed, and you need to try to fix it.

On the other hand, you're giving conflicted signals as to whether you still love him. If you don't, then you owe it to him -- and yourself -- to break it off, regardless of whether he love you.

Either way, you're now in a situation where you have a duty to break off the relationship; anything less is simply irresponsible, and will continue to waste your life and his in a dead end, leading you both to miss happiness you might otherwise find. Unfortunately, breaking up is a short-term action with long-term consequences; you're okay with the long term, it's the short term you're having a problem with, since things are still great day-to-day. That's exactly why you need to remember that it's the long term you're worrying about. It's like pulling a dislocated shoulder back into place: it's gonna hurt a lot, but if you don't do it now, damage will start to occur and things will get much, much more painful.
posted by UtterlyDrained at 8:46 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Hmm. You know, reading what you've written, I think this could go either way.

im not meeting the guy who will fulfill all these desires

I guarantee you will NEVER meet a guy who fulfills all your desires. Try giving this guy a fair chance before you move on.

To be honest with you, I think you need to work on yourself. The way your question is worded suggests to me that your communication skills aren't stellar. It's hard to suggest things when your question is couched in such vague terms, and as you say, you're having a hard time expressing yourself logically. Also I suggest that you may need therapy to help you deal with your anxiety issues — those are primarily your responsibility to deal with. These are things you will need to work on no matter whom you're with, so any time and effort invested in bettering yourself in these ways will be time well spent.

Your starting point in dealing with your boyfriend is figuring out, in real, concrete terms, what you want. So get your ducks in a row. Make sure you know what you want. Keep in mind that you really can't expect any one person to meet all your needs, and that you need to make sure that what you're asking isn't unreasonable.

You say you don't feel "supported". What does this "support" entail, exactly? You say you don't want to dictate to your boyfriend what to do, that you want it to come from the heart, and that's good so far as it goes, but are you expecting the guy to read your mind and to know what specifically it is you want him to do? You say the two of you never discuss your job, so probably that is something you would like him to do. Keep in mind that maybe you may have to rely on your professional network if you want really satisfying shoptalk. Maybe all your partner really needs to do is ask you how your day went and keep up with a few basic events so he understands general descriptions of your day. You mention saving money for the future and finding a better place to live. Okay, these are specific and actionable, so talk to him about those things. Lots of successful relationships do have one partner who is much more the planner and money manager than the other. It can work as long as the two of you can agree on things like budgeting and goals.

On his end he's unhappy because he doesn't feel the two of you have sex often enough and you work too much. Don't just brush aside his needs with a "Well I have sex often enough for me and I'm not changing anything about my work schedule". If you do that he's going to be FAR less willing to address your needs. Take his needs as seriously as you expect him to take yours, listen to whatever he has to say about them, and be willing to make some compromises so you can both be happy.
posted by orange swan at 9:10 PM on September 9, 2008 [8 favorites]

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:29 PM on September 9, 2008

Break up with him now, for his sake as much as yours. You love him, you think he's sexy, but you want a nice house and he's not gonna be able to help you buy one. Make all the excuses you like about your childhood and anxiety issues, but it boils down like this: having a house is more important to you than love.

Please. Sooner rather than later.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:57 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

I realize that immediately defaulting to DTMFA advice on relationship questions is frowned upon on AskMe, but I'm not sure the exact opposite - suggesting to someone she stay in a non-compatible relationship that doesn't appear to have much chance of a future while simultaneously telling her outright she'll never find a man who more closely fits her ideal is any more helpful.

It is entirely normal to find breaking up with someone to be a difficult and painful process, even when breaking up is clearly the right decision. It is a drastic lifestyle change. For the short-term at least you have to get used to sleeping alone, no longer having a regular partner for movies, dinner, other social activities, no more regular sex, cuddling, hugging, kissing or hand holding. You have to get used to being alone a lot more. No wonder people often put off breaking up with someone for weeks, months or years after they've already figured out it's technically the right thing to do.

In your case, without placing the blame in either direction, it simply appears your values and priorities differ in enough ways that I agree with your assessment that this relationship probably doesn't have a future. I wouldn't let the fact you are feeling the same sadness and worries that virtually anyone who has ever broken up with someone they still care about has felt dissuade you.
posted by The Gooch at 10:20 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

ten pounds of inedita: Make all the excuses you like about your childhood and anxiety issues, but it boils down like this: having a house is more important to you than love.

This seems to me to be an unnecessarily cruel thing to say to someone who is obviously already going through a tough time. Is it really all that outrageous for a woman in an adult relationship to hope/wish her boyfriend develop some semblance of an interest in pursuing traditional grown-up responsibilities like a professional job, home ownership or a savings account?
posted by The Gooch at 10:31 PM on September 9, 2008 [5 favorites]

You say "cruel", I say "direct". Of course it's not outrageous for her to want that. It is outrageous to want that while holding onto a guy you hope to trade in for an earner.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:51 PM on September 9, 2008 [7 favorites]

If you want to break up, you want to break up. To answer your question directly: it's hard now for the same reason that it's hard not to eat all the cookies now even though you want to weigh less in the future. Deferred gratification is tough, and it's especially tough to forgo something that's nice right now so that you can maybe attain a hypothetical better thing down the road. You aren't being immature, it's just human.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:42 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

in terms of growth, love love LOVE my super awesome job and work very hard at it. im very involved socially and professionally and see it going somewhere. i want to maybe start putting money away for important things soon and get a better place to live. i dont have his support in this, financially or emotionally. we never talk about my job, except that he thinks that i work too much. its just not important to him and he doesnt understand having a job that you love.

Then you are not compatible as long-term life partners.

So, yeah, you should break up with him and look for a partner who wants the same things you do (and let him look for a partner who wants the same things HE does).

Is it tough to give up something that's good in many ways, but not what you want for the long haul? Of course it is.

But put on the big-girl underpants and do it.

I say this as someone who had many nice boyfriends and girlfriends, lovely people whom I'm still friends with, and there is NO comparison to finding someone who's in tune with you on the Big Issues.

There is someone out there who is fun to be with, sexy and sweet, and who also shares your views about work/life balance. Being in general agreement about work/life balance is one of the most important things in making a marriage or life partnership work--it's right up there with "having kids or not" and "being monogamous or open/polyamorous" in the Big Issues, in my opinion (my opinion being "happily married for 8+ years" if that makes a difference to you).
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:50 PM on September 9, 2008 [5 favorites]

With all due respect to turgid dahlia, love is not all you need. You can desperately love someone with whom you are grossly incompatible, and at the end of the day, you're still incompatible.

The issue with your boyfriend being uninterested in your work very likely boils down to you feeling that he doesn't have any understanding of or appreciation for a major part of your self-identity. That isn't about loving your job more than your boyfriend; it's about being a whole person.

I do not believe this relationship can be fixed. All the wishing in the world will not make it so. If you can't see a way to build a life long term with this guy, then bail. It really is as simple as that.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:06 AM on September 10, 2008 [4 favorites]

If he doesn't give you what you want, then you may need to ask more clearly. Sure, support should come from the heart... but men aren't mind readers.

You should try making a plan for him to follow when you are in "crisis" mode, and then discuss the plan with him.

If he doesn't understand your job, then have you included him in it? To you ask for his assessment of projects you are working on or career choices you are making?

You decided that you don't have a future together. Then you "broke up in your mind." Instead, you should have talked to him about how your goals and his goals can fit together.

Relationships are not about getting what you want. They are about negotiating. You don't talk about how you have embraced his values, you've just lamented about how he doesn't embrace yours.
posted by ewkpates at 4:09 AM on September 10, 2008

Firstly: I think you're getting a lot of unnecessarily harsh flak here (she said, eyeing the rest of the room).

But -- yeah, this is hard. I'm noticing that everything is coming down 50/50 on whether you should talk to him or break it off now, which is probably making things more confusing.

It DOES make sense to break things off if someone isn't going to be a good match in the long run, but -- speaking as someone who WAS dumped for that reason a couple months ago -- it can suck to not be absolutely sure that you wouldn't BE a good match after all, and break up anyway. There are some ways that compromises can be made and effort can be applied -- if you tell him that you need to try X Y and Z, and he tells you that he doesn't know how to do that but maybe he could try P Q and R instead, and he says you also need to try doing M N and O because that's what HE needs...yeah. That way, at least if things still go bust you at least have TESTED the theory and both tried.

Or you could have that talk and he says "I hear you and respect that, but I'm not ever going to be able to do that," and you break off then, but you both totally understand why.

But I think this is worth a long and serious talk about this -- with both of you very clearly communicating "I need X out of a relatioship" and "I need Y". Once everything is on the table and you see what each other needs, and whether the other person is able to at least TRY to do it (notice I didn't say WILLING, I said ABLE -- the two don't always go together), then it should be easier to figure out what to do.

It can suck, it can be crazymaking and confusing, but it is important too. Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 AM on September 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

You see how these responses are 50% break up with him, 50% you should stay with him? Welcome to life. The only people that are going to have the answer to this are you and him. And the only way to find the answer, as turgid dahlia said, is COMMUNICATION. Talk to him about this. And do it honestly. Otherwise, it's all supposition and baseless anxiety on your part. Find out what he REALLY thinks and tell him what you REALLY think as opposed to how you think he thinks. Maybe he really does care about your love of your job but doesn't know how to show you in a way that makes it clear to you. Teach him how to make his care for you clear to you.
posted by spicynuts at 6:29 AM on September 10, 2008

You should worry about being less attracted to guys who provide more "emotional support". It also sounds like you're confusing emotional and financial support. If your guys doesn't make beans, then yes you can find both more emotionally and finically supportive. But fewer & fewer guys will be emotionally supportive as salaries increase. Indeed, silliness, coolness, attractiveness, etc. may drop dramatically when looking for both salary and emotional support. Btw, all these restrictions apply only within some fixed age group, older guys may offer all these criteria simultaneously, but are not as physically attractive, don't exactly grok your generation, etc.

Well, you've made up your mind, I imagine you'll find the motivation, but you must establish priorities for the next relationship. I mean, you will lose some things you like, but you may find more if your smart about it.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:24 AM on September 10, 2008

Here's the thing. A couple of years ago, I was you. I was with a guy who, while entertaining and sweet, did not match me. He didn't get my work ethic, he didn't get my insane love of all things Buffy/Joss Whedon, he didn't get a lot of things about me. I really, at that time, wanted to make it work. So we talked. And I changed. I focused less on the more stressful factors of my job. I delayed further schooling. I quit rambling about random things. He seemed happy with and all was good.

But deep down, I knew I was screwing up. I knew I was changing to match him better and that in the long run I'd hate who I was. And I began to resent the hell out of him.

We ended it this summer and I'm sad to say it's not been the most positive ending. He's pissed off and hurt that I'm this stubborn and have all these unrealistic needs, and I'm furious that after all this time (5 years total) he still can't figure out that it shouldn't be a chore to be interested in your significant other.

So yeah, I'm projecting a hell of a lot of my life onto yours. And my advice is DTMFA standard line. But, really, you just have to decide if you'd rather be alone and pursuing the life that you actually want and be moderately happy most of the time or with someone who is not the right match and moderately unhappy most of the time. It's not a career/life choice, it's a who you want to be choice. Do you want to be you or do you want to be the modified you that you'd have to be to be happy with him?
posted by teleri025 at 8:01 AM on September 10, 2008 [14 favorites]

why is it so hard to break up with him now?

Because change is hard, especially this kind of change. You've been with him a while, you're used to him, in the short term life without him will be harder.

But it sounds like it's not a relationship that's going to work, and I guarantee you that once you're past the "oh my god I miss him and I'm lonely" period, you'll get over it, and you'll almost certainly find someone from whom you get both love and the support you need.

Don't listen to anyone who says you're being selfish. You're not, you're just trying to get what you need out of life and love. Good luck!
posted by languagehat at 8:54 AM on September 10, 2008

Don't have time to read all the comments, but my take is that you've already broken up. You're no longer the same person you were two years ago. One of you should move out already.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:59 AM on September 10, 2008

I am the tightly-wound, anxious, must-have-stability, responsible one in the relationship. Mr. Desjardins is the laissez-faire, spontaneous, don't-worry-about-it, sometimes reckless one. This used to bother the hell out of me and make me wonder if we're incompatible. But you know what? Being with him has made me more patient, more accepting of life's ups and downs, more fun-loving. I didn't have to compromise who I was at all, as teleri025 feels she had to. Instead, being with someone with values different than mine has unquestionably opened a door for me and given me freedom to be whomever I want to be.

We're getting married in 2 weeks.
posted by desjardins at 9:00 AM on September 10, 2008 [5 favorites]

on all these cases, i dont want to force him to do anything, much less fake caring about something. im not his mom, and im not a demanding bitchy girlfriend. i feel like supporting me and understanding what i need should come from the heart, not me directing him how, when and why to do something.

I am a guy. Without being offensive, stereo typing too bad, or over-generalizing, I will say that this is more of a female thought process. Many guys can be very black and white. If you need or want something, most men will want to hear that explicitly. This is not forcing him to do anything and is not you being bitchy. This is clear communication.

But alas, you are not happy. So get happy or leave him. The best things in life take work. And might mean to stay or that might mean to go.
posted by Slenny at 9:14 AM on September 10, 2008

But fewer & fewer guys will be emotionally supportive as salaries increase.

This is nonsense.

Seriously, the anonymous OP can find a man who is emotionally supportive AND committed to his own career goals AND sympathetic with her own commitment to her career goals AND of similar mind about finances.

This is not rocket science. This is pretty much the basics of what you want in a life partner. If you add "good sex" and "makes me laugh" and "agrees with me about whether or not to have children" and "agrees with me about sexual boundaries" then there you are.

Nobody should marry, or spend their lives with, someone who isn't in the same ballpark with them on all of these issues. (Many would add "being of the same mind about religion or spirituality" to this list, but it's turned out not to be necessary in my case.)

Do you have to make some compromises when choosing a life partner? Yes. But those compromises should be more along the lines of "she doesn't like to dance" or "he never cleans the bathroom" than along the lines of "he scorns me for being excited about my career."
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:21 AM on September 10, 2008 [7 favorites]

But fewer & fewer guys will be emotionally supportive as salaries increase.

What??? Poppycock.
posted by spicynuts at 11:29 AM on September 10, 2008

he's a musician and an artist and works menial jobs.

I think a lot of this comes down to appreciating one another's passions. If you're reducing him to someone who's, essentially, immature and irresponsible just because his passions aren't work related, you're really not doing any better than his stereotyping you to be a workaholic.

Talking to him about your future desires--getting a house, for example--does not make you a bitchy girlfriend; it makes you someone with goals. You need to communicate these goals to your significant other, or else you're selling him short. However, you need to anticipate that his way of reaching these goals might be very different from the way that you would approach them. He might want to take on a second menial job to help you. He will likely still not really care about his work life. That's okay, I think, as long as he's willing to pool resources and that he's still passionate about life in some way. It's passion, not our jobs, that keeps up from being schlub losers. But if you can't appreciate the things he's passionate about, and, if even after talking to him about how his attitude towards your work upsets you, he can't appreciate the things that you're passionate about, then you should go. Really. In the long run, you'll both end up resenting staying with someone who doesn't understand you.

But the first step is communication. Be a grown-up. Talk to him. It will give you a much better perspective than a bunch of internet strangers ever will.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:26 PM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

we dont have sex enough (i think we do...)

Also, consider that the partner in a relationship with the less active sex drive almost always determines how much sex is had, which isn't always fair to the partner who wants more of it. This might be difficult for you to understand as the low-desire partner, but it can be incredibly painful for the higher desire partner to make advances and get turned down There are ways to bridge this gap, but this almost always entails the lower desire partner making some concessions to having more sex. If you end up staying with him, you might want to ask him how often he'd like to have sex, and see if you can reach a compromise between what you have now and what he wants. Sometimes this necessitates once-a-week (or more) sex dates, but really, he might be less resentful about your working so much if he sees you making an effort to compromise on this issue.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:33 PM on September 10, 2008

Omg when did I type this? You sound exactly like me, same issues same situation just slightly different.

Free free to msg me. I don't have a solution to your problem but wow I have a feeling we are exactly alike. Which is something I didn't think was possible.
posted by Takeyourtime at 5:34 PM on September 10, 2008

You sound exactly like me, same issues same situation just slightly different.

That's probably not too surprising, because I think it's something that happens a lot to couples in their mid-late 20s.

It's a structural thing, caused by the move from a college / party lifestyle, past the foot-in-the door work after graduation, and further into a serious career.

Put simply, the fun, bohemian, muso people make great - maybe even ideal - matches when you're young & poor & living the same kind of lifestyle & moving in the same circles as them.

That doesn't mean that they'll continue to be ideal if & when you move on to a new & different phase of life, one which claims a lot of your time & energy, puts your schedules out of synch with each other, and often raises significant disparities in earnings, and therefore in the kinds of current & potential future lifestyles that these changes in finances bring.

Or, as Lou Reed sang, "You keep hangin' round me, and I'm not so glad you found me, you're still doing things that I gave up years ago"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:21 PM on September 10, 2008 [5 favorites]

Why can't you break up? Possibly you're at a local max. It'll take short term pain for long term benefit.
posted by salvia at 7:12 PM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

it's fair to say that anyone in this predicament is caught between a rock (love) and a hard place (compatibility) to go one with the use of metaphors. being someone who recently went through a similar thought process in severing a relationship for almost the same reasons, i took the side of compatibility despite loving that person so much.

while the male and female takes do differ on the thought process-wise, i am a man that made the decision to say goodbye to a woman after almost 6 years of volatile, emotionally unstable albeit ultra-loving relationship. there comes a point where at times two people will no longer see eye to eye on things and this is were it began and ended for me.

despite that, this is the third and final time i've broken up with my now ex-gf after two other situations of 'i hope things will go different this time around, let's give it another chance' scenarios.

i chose to break off the campaign in order to come closer to long term compatibility, which besides our history, never really amounted to anything the third time around. albeit, saying good bye was the most difficult thing i had to do and facing the next few days and weeks of life changes and structure will be hard as it is always in re-adjustment.
posted by sniperantics at 9:31 PM on September 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

You are a caring human being which is why you have questions about your relationship. You only want what is best for you and even your relationship but I do sense some resentment in your post already to who your boyfriend is. The complaints about what he does not do is just a mask of insecurities you feel are not being addressed or met. You need to have a serious sitdown and discuss how you are feeling without being judgmental or condescending to him. You need to talk to him in a loving way so this way it creates more conversation about what the next step to take as a couple. Like you, I too have anxiety and it definitely alters my perception on how I see my boyfriend. I try to, everyday, take myself out of my mind so I can be open in understanding not just him, but everyone I love. Because I can assume the worst in people with the gloom and doom scenarios of what *could be* instead of what it is now. You have to make sure that it's not your chronic anxiety talking. Make sure of that first before jumping to any conclusions because I know how irrational my anxious mind can get at times. Also, if he is expressing to you that he needs more attention to your sex life, that is a good thing. Because it shows he cares about the relationship. I know it seems like he cares for his wellbeing but it's more than that. Men need their egos stroked and need to feel as if they are your everything. And if you do not express that, it will make a guy feel stumped and frustrated that he can't make his woman happy enough. Feel free to PM me, if needed.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 2:28 PM on September 27, 2008

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